Kitchee coach Abraham Garcia was delighted with his side’s 1-0 victory over AFC Cup debutants Kaya FC on Tuesday despite not registering the most convincing of scorelines.
The Hong Kong-based club had to rely on Rufino Segovia’s penalty in the 69th minute to claim three points after they squandered numerous attempts to take the lead in the first half.
However, while Garcia admitted that his side could have done better in the first 45 minutes, he was more concerned about securing the win as he wanted Kitchee to start their AFC Cup campaign on the right foot.
“Yes of course, it’s not easy when you start a new competition. It’s true that this was [Kaya FC’s] first time in the tournament, but [Kitchee] performed very well yesterday,” he told FOX Sports Asia. “The first half was very complicated and we weren’t comfortable. We wanted to score the first goal and then a second one.
“In the second half, we controlled the match and the ball and we were closer to the other goal. We scored a goal from a penalty kick, but in the last 15 minutes of the first half, we had some chances and we showed that we were doing better.”
Garcia attributed Kitchee’s victory to the fact that they played the match on home soil and he expressed his delight at the fact that Kitchee now sit atop Group F with a two-point lead as Balestier Khalsa FC and New Radiant SC drew 2-2 on Tuesday.
“Starting at home is very good because if you win, you have three points,” he said. “The other match was a draw and we now have a two-point difference. We are on top after the first round. The fans showed up for the victory and now we are happy.”
Garcia is refusing to celebrate Kitchee’s victory too much considering that the team will travel to Singapore to face Balestier after a busy two weeks that will consist of three league matches against Standard Rovers on Sunday, South Kwoon Chung next Wednesday and Yuen Long next Saturday. The Spaniard admitted that Kitchee struggle when playing abroad and have to do a lot of preparation if they want to keep their unbeaten streak alive.
“It’s an away match. This year, we’ve had some problems when playing away in our regular season. It’s not easy because when you play away you have more difficulties,” he said. “We know we have three league matches and now we have to focus on that and then start to prepare for [Balestier].”
Meanwhile, even though Kitchee have started their AFC Cup journey with a win, Garcia is refusing to get carried away and has decided to take things one step at a team instead of setting lofty goals.
“When starting a tournament, you want to go as far as you can, but while it’s true we have been in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, we have to go step by step,” he said.